A Utah man is facing criminal charges more than four years after he allegedly raped a woman in South Salt Lake.
Miguel Bernardino, 32, was charged in the Third District Court of Salt Lake City with first-degree rape, forcible sodomy, aggravated assault, and misdemeanor assault, court documents state.
The victim reportedly left the Salt Lake County Jail on Nov. 23, 2016, after visiting her boyfriend. She was sitting at a bus stop near 3300 S. 900 West when an older red SUV pulled up. The woman reportedly approached the vehicle and asked the driver, later identified as Bernardino, for a ride to a nearby TRAX station.
Bernardino agreed to take her, the documents state. As he was driving, Bernardino made a U-turn at 700 West and began driving west on 3300 South, the opposite direction of the TRAX station.
When the woman asked what he was doing, Bernardino claimed there was traffic ahead and that he was going to take her to another station on 2100 South. He then took a right-hand turn off 900 West and drove behind a business.
When asked again by the woman what he was doing, Bernardino claimed to be waiting for friends. Court documents state the 32-year-old began punching the woman repeatedly in the head and then raped her.
After, Bernardino reportedly told the woman to lay down and not lookup. The victim said he drove for a couple of minutes, stopped, went around the passenger side door, and threw her out in the snow.
The woman called 911 and went to a local hospital for a sexual assault examination. Court documents state the samples from the examination were sent to the State Crime Lab and the DNA testing identified a male profile from the vaginal swabs.
The profile was entered into CODIS, the Combined DNA Index System created by the FBI that contains DNA profiles in the criminal justice database.
On May 6, 2020, the State Crime Lab confirmed that the DNA from the swabs matched Bernardino. Court documents state a search warrant was obtained and served, requiring Bernardino to give a buccal swab. The sample was sent to the crime lab for comparison and it matched.
Individuals charged in complaints are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.